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to think that John Sweeny and his BBC superiors have put lives at risk with their North Korean jaunt and don't give a damn?

(35 Posts)
NorthernLurker Mon 15-Apr-13 13:30:18

Not specifically the lives of the students and reporters - who after all are home safe in the UK now - but the lives of the North Korean guides assigned to the party by the regime. They didn't notice the filming, they didn't realise there were journalists. How do we think they've been treated since this came out? What's happened to their families?

Anybody who knows anything about North Korea knows they will at the very least have been imprisoned. And yet I've seen no scrap of concern for those people in any of the interviews.

I don't believe John Sweeney secured any new information about the regime. He's an attention seeking journalist not a spy. For the sake of a BBC ego trip how many are suffering? How many more will be put at risk because the BBC has sullied the immunity of academics? I am normal a big BBC fan, keen to defend their journalistic integrity but this whole escapade is just sickeningly arrogant.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 15-Apr-13 13:38:51

Oh yes. There will be huge consequences for this. I hope that the guides will not be held responsible although I fear that they certainly will be.

I also do not think future UK visitors to North Korea would be wise, at least not for some time. Can you imagine how they would be treated? How many of them might be detained?

Sallyingforth Mon 15-Apr-13 13:42:38

No-one has to go to NK. Anyone who does go risks their own security and that of people they meet. Best to keep well away from the place.

lubeybooby Mon 15-Apr-13 13:44:09

Sallyingforth your post has got nothing at all to do with the OP.

TigOldBitties Mon 15-Apr-13 13:47:02

This has annoyed me because I was hoping to go to North Korea at some point. It seems like a reckless and selfish way to behave by John Sweeney.

HorryIsUpduffed Mon 15-Apr-13 13:48:43

The BBC has also damaged LSE's reputation with NK. I do not believe the producers approached the university as a body for their sanction - because they would never have given it in a million years.

Very badly done.

Sallyingforth Mon 15-Apr-13 13:50:21

Of course it is relevant. The students take a risk in going to such an unstable regime. They would be naive in the extreme to think that their visit will not be misused by the regime and others including the press.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 15-Apr-13 13:51:51

I think the main concern is for the North Koreans who acted as guides and didn't realise there was filming going on. And what may happen to them.

What's your view on that?

Sallyingforth Mon 15-Apr-13 13:59:07

And the students are not taking pictures?
Presumably they are going to study the NK system/regime and produce reports. So is the BBC.
Any NK person meeting foreigners from the evil west will be under suspicion, regardless of who those foreigners represent.

fuzzypicklehead Mon 15-Apr-13 15:00:33

The consequences for guides and their families is my main objection. Just listened to debate on radio 2, in which a woman who went to NK with LSE a couple of years ago outlined very clearly what they understood would happen to the guides if the students engaged in forbidden activities. As a result, those students didn't take photos or put the reputation of LSE at risk.

Then here comes John Sweeney, apparently looking the guides in the face, knowing he's going to ruin their lives and those of their families--and carries on.

Is anything he's got to report on Panorama worth what's going to happen to those people?

NorthernLurker Mon 15-Apr-13 15:33:12

It's really shocked me that the lives of the North Koreans have been treated with such callous disregard.

thezebrawearspurple Mon 15-Apr-13 16:04:05

The last Western journalists caught in North Korea were kept in good conditions and treated well, the North Koreans aren't going to stick a bunch of Western students into a labour camp, they're trying to sell them a vision of the perfect communist society, not send them home with a genuine education as to what they're really like. They were never at any risk.

I'm concerned for the guides and their families, they could be sent to the camps for failing to notice they were being filmed.

Spuderoonerism Mon 15-Apr-13 18:07:51

They had an LSE guy on World at One yesterday. From their perspective even though the guys on this trip got back safe, they are concerned that it puts other academics/students in other countries at risk now as their study groups may also be suspected of being a cover for journalists. I can't remember the countries he mentioned but they were also the sort of places where academics/guides wouldn't want to be arrested on suspicion of harbouring journalists (I think he mentioned China and some countries in Africa as well).

hackmum Mon 15-Apr-13 18:23:00

I think you're right, OP. I was quite shocked at this. Whatever people say about the BBC, I do expect a basic level of integrity from them.

YoniMaroney Mon 15-Apr-13 18:40:16

Totally wrong. The BBC should have done this in their own name, not endangered another institution even if it did take money from Gadaffi

Talkinpeace Mon 15-Apr-13 18:44:52

The LSE are not exactly whiter than white though : they made Gadaffi's son a lecturer in exchange for a huge wodge of cash.

Why are they sending students to North Korea anyway?

NorthernLurker Mon 15-Apr-13 19:04:39

I agree the LSE aren't saints either but it's not the retrospective safety of the students that should be dwelt on. It's the here and now what's happening to the people Sweeney has endangered. He, of course, doesn't know and it seems didn't care (enough) either.

musicmadness Mon 15-Apr-13 19:44:39

It's the guides and their families that people should be worried about. Doesn't North Korea imprison 3 generations of the family of anyone who "fails" the regime.

I'd imagine that not catching BBC reporters filming will be classed as a massive failing and it would be fairly lucky if it were just the guides themselves who were punished and not their entire families.

It does have a massive impact for academic groups as well, not the ones who were on this particular trip but it could stop other academic groups going to multiple countries due to safety concerns. There are lots of countries where a group of academics suspected of containing a journalist would be in a lot of trouble.

This was completely irresponsible by the BBC, if they really wanted to go into North Korea they should have gone in as tourists and taken steps to ensure that whoever was acting as their guide would not be able to be identified.

NorthernLurker Mon 15-Apr-13 20:08:07

You can't go in as 'tourists' without guides. Advice here The regime just won't let you. There is no way for western journalists to have made this film except like this - and the consequences for the guides will have been known. The BBC has decided that doesn't matter. I heard somebody on the news today saying it was 'in the public interest' - well that depends which country you live in doesn't it?

timidviper Mon 15-Apr-13 20:13:21

I am becoming totally utterly disillusioned with the BBC. This following hot on the heels of censoring the pop charts really shows them in a poor light.

EverybodysSootyEyed Mon 15-Apr-13 20:22:46

totally agree OP - I am really disgusted with the BBC and I am normally a big defender of theirs

If anyone wants to find out what happens in NK and what might happen to their guides this book is excellent, but incredibly harrowing
www.amazon.co.uk/Escape-Camp-14-remarkable-odyssey/dp/0330519549/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366053611&sr=8-1&keywords=escape+from+camp+14

Lazyjaney Mon 15-Apr-13 20:39:37

BBC gets all the glory, other people face all the consequences - for what? That we learn that North Korea is a 1940s Marxist police state, which we didn't know of course.

babybarrister Mon 15-Apr-13 21:11:48

I agree - Panorama did not tell me anything that the FCO did not know 10 years ago --friend in FCO who told me hilarious stories of being shown goat farms with no goats ...--grin
Don't think it should have been banned though

deadduck Mon 15-Apr-13 21:45:09

I completely agree, OP, and feel very sad that these people will at best be imprisoned now, through no fault of their own, for our viewing pleasure.

Yonirubbishnamesleft Mon 15-Apr-13 22:14:31

I thought the programme was a bit shit to be honest. It seemed like it was proganda from our side...

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